The state’s first ‘family drug court’
Attorney General Maura Healey will be the keynote speaker at the opening of the Franklin Family Drug Court, the first family drug court in Massachusetts, Greenfield Community College, 1 College Drive, Greenfield, 9:30 a.m.
Kronos groundbreaking in Lowell
Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash delivers remarks at the groundbreaking for the new Lowell headquarters of Kronos Inc., one of the state’s largest tech firms that’s moving from Chelmsford to Lowell, Cross Point, Kronos Tower, 900 Chelmsford St., Lowell, 10 a.m.
Rosenberg arrives home from Europe
With this week’s revelation that the state now faces a revenue shortfall of up to $750 million, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg returns home from Europe, where he attended a climate change fact-finding tour, to confront a number of thorny state issues, Logan Airport, Boston, 12 p.m.
Markey holds gun-safety press conference
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey will hold a press conference to speak in support of gun legislation in Congress, Fenway Health, 1340 Boylston St., Boston, 2:30 p.m.
Baker camps out
Gov. Charlie Baker and other administration officials join fourth-grade students and their families from the Franklin D. Roosevelt School in Hyde Park, who will camp out at historic Castle Island, in recognition of the Great Outdoors Month, DCR’s Fort Independence at Castle Island, William J. Day Boulevard, South Boston, 4 p.m.
Lawmakers take a conceptually reasonable and thematic ax to Baker’s economic development bill
The Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee yesterday unveiled a vastly scaled down version of Gov. Baker’s economic development bill, cutting the proposal from $918 million to $593.9 million and adding a few new items along the way, reports Matt Murphy of State House News Service at CommonWealth magazine. Among the accounts that would receive a smaller infusion of funds would be the MassWorks Infrastructure program, which Baker proposed to fund at $500 million over five years. Legislative leaders reduced it to $300 million over three years.
According to MassLive, the governor seemed somewhat philosophical about the cutback. “Conceptually, it’s reasonably thematically consistent with what we proposed,” he said.
Even though, conceptually, it’s reasonably thematically one-third less of what he proposed and over a shorter period of time.
Muslims praying on T platform sparks armed response – and very wise words
A heavily armed rapid-response team was dispatched yesterday after reports of what appeared to be Muslims praying on an MBTA platform, raising questions about vigilance in the age of terrorism versus respect for other people’s religious practices, reports the Herald’s Owen Boss, Brian Dowling and Laurel Sweet.
Before everyone starts emotionally and ideologically lining up on either side of the issue, please note the measured, sensitive and common-sense response of Imam Talal Eid, founder of the Islamic Institute of Boston:
“I will not call what happened on the T platform discrimination or racism. People are just afraid. There’s so much in the air. Sleeper cells and all. We need time to educate people. If someone sees a woman with a head scarf or someone praying in the street, they need to report what they see and not add to it. I understand that Muslims are now under a microscope. So everything they do is being watched, praying in public included. … The people praying on the T were performing an innocent act. I’m sure they never meant to distract anyone.”
Of Somerville’s 80,000 housing units, only 22 would pass today’s zoning codes
To make his point that modern zoning codes can restrict construction of much-neeed housing for the middle and working classes, Matthew Yglesias at Vox took a look at Somerville, one of the most densely populated cities in the country, and found that only 22 out of its 80,000 dwellings pass modern zoning codes (luckily, the 79,978 non-complying units have been grandfathered as acceptable housing). Concludes Yglesias:
“The fact that there’s evidently nothing wrong with these illegal neighborhoods and illegal houses should give us some pause as to whether all these anti-building rules are necessary. There’s no need for every American town to be built up to Somerville levels of density (indeed, you could fit 200 million people into Massachusetts at Somerville’s population density), but what’s so wrong with some new neighborhoods growing as dense as historic ones?” Vox piece via Universal Hub.
Concord Monitor reporter: Anti-Semitic Trump trolls found me
This is weird and very disturbing: Online anti-Semitic trolls, apparently ardent Trump supporters, routinely cyber stalk reporters and others who cover and/or criticize Donald Trump, using social media and a crude code involving parentheses to mark and then target Jewish people in particular.
To her horror, Concord Monitor reporter Ella Nilsen recently discovered she had been “found” and targeted: “My name and picture were on a Twitter list of 82 politicians, journalists and activists, many of whom are Jewish. The name of the list was ‘Train Depot.’ The description underneath said, ‘These (((people))) awaiting Disinfection and Bath before entering Main Camp.’ The person who created it self-identified only as a white male. From his profile, it seemed he spent much of his time finding pictures of Jewish people and reporters who cover presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on Twitter and photoshopping them into the same crude meme that was plastered all over his page.”
Nilsen, who is only part Jewish, adds: “To say I was creeped out is an understatement. Immediately, dozens of questions raced through my mind. ‘How did this person find me? Why did he put me on this list? Did he do research on me? How can I delete my entire online presence?’”
Nilsen’s column via Kyle Scott Clauss at Boston magazine.
Healey issues IndyCar ultimatum: Refund customers or else
Attorney General Maura Healey has set a deadline for backers of the failed Boston IndyCar race: Come up with a plan to refund customers within a week or face legal action, reports the Globe’s Mark Arsenault. As part of her push, Healey has subpoenaed documents from local promoters of the race, in hopes of determining exactly who is owed what.
But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says Healey may have to set her sights higher, on the national group backing the race, for a simple reason: The local promoters are broke.
Farewell, Citgo sign?
Boston University is selling a portfolio of buildings in Kenmore Square, one of which hosts the iconic Citgo sign so beloved by many Bostonians, reports the Globe’s Tim Logan. The big question: Can the building be redeveloped with a giant neon-lit Citgo sign on its roof? At least one developer, Ted Tye of National Development, wants nothing to do with such a potentially unpopular decision. “I was not going to be ‘that developer’ who would take down the Citgo sign,” said Tye. “It’s such a symbol of Boston.”
Hotel groups want tougher Airbnb regulations
Hotel operators are pressing for stricter state regulations of Airbnb after a study they commissioned showed a large portion of the home-sharing site’s revenue come from commercial operations, Jordan Graham of the Herald reports. The American Hotel and Lodging Association says half of Boston-area Airbnb room renters had multiple properties listed on the site and that a third of all listings for the city were posted for 90 days or more, suggesting they are ongoing commercial operations that should be subject to the same regulation and tax burdens as hotels. Airbnb disputes some of the study’s findings and notes it was commissioned by the hotel industry.
Baker on MBTA expansion: No ribbon cuttings for me, thank you
Gov. Baker has said it before and will say it again: He favors MBTA maintenance over T expansion. But yesterday he added a few more flourishes and quotable quotes in defense of his MBTA mantra, as reported by Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “I don’t expect to cut a lot of big ribbons over the course of the next few years, and I’m OK with that,’” Baker said, speaking at a Boston transportation summit. “I believe in reliability, modernization and expansion, in that order.”
And make no mistake: expansion is a very distant third on that list.
Here’s the reason: The cash-strapped T needs to spend hundreds of millions of additional dollars a year just to get its infrastructure in decent working order, according to a new study, reports the Globe’s Nicole Dungca. In all, the T itself has estimated that it needs $7.3 billion for the most basic infrastructure upgrades, Dungca notes.
Most of Ashland board quits after records request
Four of six members of the Ashland Capital Improvement Committee have resigned after one of the board’s members filed an Open Meeting Law complaint and filed a series of public records requests, Bill Shaner of the MetroWest Daily News reports. Selectmen will not fill the vacancies immediately and plan to use a consultant to plan major capital investments for the time being.
Duxbury underage drinking law gets state OK
The office of Attorney General Maura Healey has approved a Duxbury bylaw that allows local police to issue non-criminal fines to teenagers caught with alcohol, Jessica Trufant of the Patriot Ledger reports. In March, Town Meeting supported the measure by a wide margin and officials in other communities have said they would consider similar moves if the Duxbury law passed muster with the state.
Worcester targets high earners in public housing
The Worcester Housing Authority plans to step up enforcement of federal income guidelines for living in the city’s public housing projects, Brad Petrishen of the Telegram reports. Authority director Raymond Mariano says the agency believes there are a “handful” of families who exceed the maximum income limits, while the agency has a lengthy waiting list of qualified tenants.
MassDOT partners with Google’s Waze
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said yesterday it would partner with the Google-owned Waze traffic app, a move that will enable the state to leverage crowd-sourced data on traffic tie-ups, Zeninjor Enwemeka of WBUR reports. In turn, the state will provide Waze with information on road construction and closures.
Senate expands veterans’ benefits
The state Senate has unanimously approved a bill to strengthen benefits and protections for military veterans, Shira Schoenberg of MassLive reports. The legislation gives veterans preferences for public housing slots, protects the jobs of state employees called to duty and creates a new oversight position for veterans housing.
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ TV, 8:30 a.m. Guest: Marisa DeFranco, an immigration and security expert who was a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2014, will discuss immigration issues in the wake of the Orlando mass killings and Gov. Charlie Baker’s recent move to reinstate immigration status reporting by State Police.
This Week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m. Jim Rooney, CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber, weighs in on the latest state jobs figures and the future of the BCEC; Fan Pier developer Joe Fallon talks about the recent opening of 100 Northern Avenue and shares perspectives on the development of the area; Craig Douglas, managing editor of the Boston Business Journal, talks about general business issues.
On The Record, WCVB TV, 11 a.m. Guest: House Speaker Robert DeLeo. CEO Corner, NECN, 11:30 a.m. Melissa Raffoni of The Raffoni Group talks about CEO peer-to-peer mentoring and how does it works. Joining her are Gordie Spader of Kurgo Products and Intrepid CEO Mark Kasdorf.
City Line, WCVB TV, 12 p.m. Karen Holmes Ward hosts CityLine, Channel 5’s urban news and feature magazine program. Focus this week: “Take it to the Streets: Brockton.”
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